Curriculum

Civil Externship Seminar - Litigation Skills

Credits: 1.00
Faculty: Jodi S. Balsam

Prerequisites: 1L course of study This course is the companion seminar for students enrolled in the Civil Practice Externship fieldwork course with a placement in a law office that exposes them primarily to work on active investigations and litigation, dispute resolution, and positional advocacy. The course situates students in a simulated case as it progresses through the pretrial phase, and hones their practice skills relating to: developing facts and a theory of the case, interviewing witnesses and clients, drafting litigation documents, handling informal and formal discovery, and participating in alternative dispute resolution processes. Students will explore the concept of factual indeterminacy and the lawyer's practical and ethical responsibilities pertaining to fact development in the civil litigation context; the development of case and narrative theory; the progression and mechanics of pretrial litigation procedures and their ethical application; how to read and work with pretrial litigation documents; and lawyering skills relating to litigation management, case preparation, and dispute resolution. Each class session will be an immersion in a particular pre-trial practice skill or situation, requiring students to make strategic and ethical judgments, engage in problem-solving, and perform as litigators. Students' fieldwork experiences will serve as additional source material for analysis of and reflection on the effective execution and management of pretrial processes.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Letter grade only. Students will be assessed based on short writing assignments that simulate pretrial litigation tasks, a mediation simulation, externship required written assignments, and professionalism and class participation.